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"A historical political resource." 
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CountryUnited Kingdom
Last EditedRBH - December 01, 2019 03:20pm
DescriptionThe Referendum Party were a political party in the United Kingdom formed to contest the 1997 General Election. The leading figure behind their formation was James Goldsmith. The party's position was simply that there should be a referendum held on the UK's continued membership of the European Union.

The Referendum Party very briefly held a seat in the House of Commons after George Gardiner, the Conservative MP for Reigate, changed parties. In the 1997 election itself, the Referendum Party polled fairly well, receiving in excess of 800,000 votes, but did not threaten to win a seat in the House of Commons. One of the most memorable images of that election was the sight of Goldsmith taunting David Mellor after the latter had lost his Putney seat, where Goldsmith also stood as a candidate. By some estimates the Referendum Party cost the Conservatives 25-30 seats at the election by taking crucial votes in closely-fought constituencies.

Gardiner campaigned for re-election in Reigate, but was not successful, losing to the new Conservative candidate.

Goldsmith vowed that the party would continue after the 1997 election, but his death in July of that year, deprived them of their most high profile figure and the financial support he offered them. The party ceased to exist not long afterwards. A successor of sorts, the Referendum Movement, was created by the remaining inner circle of the Party. This Movement merged in January 1999 with the Euro Information Campaign - another pro-pound, anti-euro group funded by a multi-millionaire - in this case Paul Sykes. The merged group, the Democracy Movement, is not a political party but rather a political pressure group. Many members of the Referendum Party have switched their voting support to the UK Independence Party.

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11/25/1999 UK Parliament - Kensington & Chelsea - By-election Stephen Scott-Fawcett Lost 0.29% (-56.10%)
11/20/1997 UK Parliament - Beckenham - By-election Leonard Mead Lost 0.74% (-40.51%)
05/03/1997 UK Parliament - Middlesbrough R. Edwards Lost 2.89% (-68.54%)
05/01/1997 UK Parliament - Coatbridge & Chryston Bernard Bowsley Lost 0.66% (-67.66%)
05/01/1997 UK Parliament - Dunfermline East Tom Dunsmore Lost 1.73% (-65.07%)
05/01/1997 UK Parliament - Edinburgh Pentlands Malcolm McDonald Lost 0.92% (-42.09%)
05/01/1997 UK Parliament - Glasgow Baillieston John McClafferty Lost 0.59% (-65.10%)
05/01/1997 UK Parliament - Bethnal Green & Bow Muhammad Abdullah Lost 1.25% (-45.07%)
05/01/1997 UK Parliament - Gordon Fred Pidcock Lost 1.09% (-41.52%)
05/01/1997 UK Parliament - Midlothian Keith Docking Lost 0.91% (-52.60%)
05/01/1997 UK Parliament - Renfrewshire West Shaw Lindsay Lost 0.71% (-45.85%)
05/01/1997 UK Parliament - Carshalton & Wallington Julian Storey Lost 2.66% (-35.52%)
05/01/1997 UK Parliament - Airdrie & Shotts Crawford Semple Lost 0.71% (-61.11%)
05/01/1997 UK Parliament - Cumbernauld & Kilsyth Pamela Cook Lost 0.30% (-58.39%)
05/01/1997 UK Parliament - Dunfermline West James Bain Lost 1.49% (-51.59%)
05/01/1997 UK Parliament - Edinburgh South Ian McLean Lost 1.12% (-45.70%)
05/01/1997 UK Parliament - Glasgow Cathcart Strang Haldane Lost 1.03% (-56.35%)
05/01/1997 UK Parliament - Hamilton North & Bellshill Raymond Conn Lost 1.46% (-62.55%)
05/01/1997 UK Parliament - Moray Paddy Meiklejohn Lost 2.11% (-39.45%)
05/01/1997 UK Parliament - Roxburgh & Berwickshire John Curtis Lost 2.64% (-43.86%)